In 1936, the Benny Goodman Trio became the first interracial band to perform in public, with Benny Goodman (the son of Jewish immigrants) on clarinet and African-American Teddy Wilson on piano (Gene Krupa, on drums, completed the trio). Writing in punchy free verse that echoes the bounce of both men's music, Cline-Ransome traces Goodman and Wilson's parallel--but separate--paths to jazz fame, before eventually meeting in 1935. Working in watercolor outlined in loose pencil, Ransome strongly evokes the allure of music that Goodman and Wilson both felt as boys, as well as way jazz all but demanded people get up and move: "The stage was hot/ The dancer floor was hotter/ The music was hottest." Ages 8-12. (Jan.)Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
Gr 2-6--The true story of jazz musicians Benny Goodman and Teddy Wilson is told in deep blues and gold with splashes of red throughout. The lyrical prose infuses the book with the spirit of jazz ("Benny blowing /bleating /breathing /music /into Benny's clarinet.") The illustrations are realistic and reminiscent of Jerry Pinkney's God Bless the Child (HarperCollins, 2003), yet the watercolors seem to blur together at times and swing like the music that Teddy and Benny play. The biographical back matter will give readers more insight into all of the musicians mentioned and shed light on how a love of music helped the two break down color lines.--Krishna Grady, Darien Library, CTCopyright 2014 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.